Plague of Shadows by Michael Wisehart

PlagueofShadowsHow long do I have to wait for the next one?

I can say with certainty that I enjoyed this book far more than the first one, probably because there is significantly less torture. (The torture in the first book made me squeamish.)

In the last book, my favorite storylines were ones involving Ty and the Weilder Council, but in this book, I really enjoyed Ferrin, Rae, and Ayrion’s storylines.

I will say from a reader’s standpoint, the book could have benefited from a synopsis of the first book, The White Tower, along with a character list and short bio of each. It has been a long time since the first book was released (approx. 3 years), and I’d forgotten some major plot details and supporting characters, some of whom have a larger role in this book. After reading 12 chapters of Plague of Shadows, I decided to re-listen to the first book to refresh my memory. Once I did that, I was able to truly enjoy Plaque of Shadows.

In conclusion, this series is still in my top-10 list and is definitely worth reading. (I’m even thinking about buying the audio version. Tim Gerard Reynolds is an AMAZING narrator!) But, if you have not read The White Tower recently, you will want to do so before starting this book (unless you are one of the lucky few with a photographic memory).

I received an advance copy of “Plaque of Shadows” by Michael Wisehart in exchange for a review.

Gods of Blood and Powder, Brian McClellan

SingsofEmpire.jpgNothing is more infuriating than reaching the climax of a book only to discover that the story is OVER! At least until the release of the third book in December. (Yes, I have to wait 5 months to find out what happens. I’ve never been a patient person.)

Anyway, I have been enjoying the series Gods of Blood and Powder by Brian McClellan. (Sins of Empire is the first book in this series.) He is the author of the Powder Mage Trilogy which I reviewed a couple weeks ago. (Read my review of that series here.)

Gods of Blood and Powder takes place about 11 years after the Powder Mage Trilogy. While you probably don’t have to read the Powder Mage Trilogy first in order to enjoy Gods of Blood and Powder, it would be helpful if you did. I know I enjoyed coming into this series knowing the history between the characters and their origins which were developed in the Powder Mage Trilogy.

Due to language and violence, I would say this book is PG-13. It had a little more profanity than the Powder Mage Trilogy. However, the F-word is NOT used at all.

This series, like the Powder Mage Trilogy, will be added to my “favorites” list for adults.

Now, what am I supposed to read until December?!?!

 

The Powder Mage Trilogy

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I want to cry. Nothing is worse than finishing a great book series and realizing you have nothing to take it’s place. It is like saying goodbye to close friends. 😦

Recently I finished listening to the Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClellan. It was one of those series that I didn’t want to end. I have found myself a new favorite author and a new favorite narrator. (Christian Rodska narrates the trilogy, and he does a stellar job with all the characters. He really brings the story to life.)

I don’t really know what to say about the series other than I really enjoyed. The best way I can describe the plot is: French-Revolution-meets-magic. (No, the book is not set in France, but the situation is similar to that of the French Revolution.)

The plot moves at a reasonable speed, so you don’t lose interest, but you don’t feel rushed. Compared to other books I’ve read, the plot is pretty unique. . No princess being saved. No dragons or elves or dwarves. Yes, their is magic, but it’s a different kind of magic, and it’s a magic that has limitations. Just because someone is a mage, doesn’t make them invincible. Just for fun, here is a promo video from Brian McCellan’s website.

 

The characters are very well developed, and very human in that they all have flaws. The characters experience fear, hope, jealousy, despair, self-loathing, and anger; they demonstrate honor, courage, perseverance, mercy, forgiveness, love and loyalty. Each character is very real; no one person is perfect and no villain is simply a monster (even though some behave like one.)

The story does follow the path of several different characters. Unlike other books I’ve read, however, the transition from one character’s story-line to the next feels natural and smooth. It is not disruptive like it is in other books I’ve read.

I definitely recommend this book. Their is humor, fighting, magic, intrigue, courage, and so much more.

This book will be added to my “Favorites” list for adults. (Due to violence and some adult references, I would say this book is PG-13.)

The Thief

What better way to spend a stormy Sunday than reading a good book?

I just finished reading The Thief, the first book in The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. This Newbery Honor book was entertaining, and I didn’t want to put it down. (It wasn’t that rare breed of book you can’t put down; it was simply a good book you did not want to put down.) The book deserves more than three stars, but not quite four. Maybe a 3.7 or 3.8.

The story begins with Eugenides, or Gen for short, locked in the king’s prison. Gen, a petty thief with a large ego, is provided an opportunity to accompany the king’s magus on a quest. An offer, given his limited resources and his desire for fame, he accepts. The quest begins sending Gen, the magus, and their companions on an adventure through neighboring kingdoms.

The book is heavy on description and the introspective thoughts of the main character, which I often skipped over. However, I found the characters intriguing enough to keep reading. I simply liked the characters and looked forward to seeing how their relationships developed.

I am placing this book on my list of books for all ages. (There are a few “goddam-its” and “damn’s” in there, but that’s it. ) While the story does not make it into my top-ten, it is good enough that I would recommend it to pre-teens and teens.

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

Blackthorn Key.jpgIt’s been a while since I’ve read a book without magic, and by that I mean a book that contains no magic in the plot. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands, however, does possess the magical quality to transport you into a world of adventure and suspense that will prevent you from accomplishing your daily obligations because you remain glued to the pages (or in my case, the audio).

The story, set in England in the 1660’s, follows 13-year-old Christopher Rowe and his best friend, Tom Bailey, as they endeavor to discover who is behind the recent murders of local apothecaries, a job made more challenging by the fact that Christopher is now on the “hit list.” And, as I said previously, there is no magic in the book, so Christopher and Tom must solve the mystery using only their ingenuity and local supplies. The boys are resourceful, courageous, and loyal, yet they remain boys, complete with the mischievous tendencies and not-thoroughly-thought-through ideas that accompany youth.

Interspersed with humor and suspense, if you or your child are looking for an escape from reality, The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands will provide you just that. This is definitely going on my “favorites” list, and it’s made it in my Top-10 list of books for all ages!

P.S. So far, the second book in the series – Mark of the Plague – is my favorite, mainly because you get to see the true strength of Christopher’s character – generous, loyal, and courageous. While those traits are present in the first book, The Blackthorn Key, they become even more apparent in the Mark of the Plague, where instead of fleeing the city as so many did, Christopher chooses to stay and minister to those in need regardless of the potential danger to his health and to the repercussions it might have for his future career as an apothecary. Christopher also stands up for the dignity of the local town “lunatic.” There are many other examples of Christopher’s loyalty, generosity, and courage, but to see those, you will simply have to read the books yourself.